José Montserrate Feliciano García (born September 10, 1945) is a Puerto Rican singer, virtuoso guitarist and composer known for many international hits including the 1970 holiday single "Feliz Navidad".
Feliciano was born in Lares, Puerto Rico, one of twelve children. Though his birthday is most often given as September 10, his actual birthday is September 8. But because he wasn´t added to the Puerto Rican national registration until the 10th, for some reason that date became his official birthdate. He is blind because of congenital glaucoma. He was first exposed to music at age three. He would play a tin cracker can while accompanying his uncle who played the Cuatro. When he was five, his family moved to Spanish Harlem, New York City, and, at age nine, he played on the Teatro Puerto Rico. He started his musical life playing accordion until a family friend, Benjamin Borges, gave him his first guitar. Benjamin Borges gave him his guitar in a brown bag which he bought in Nagoya Japan. He bought two that day, one for himself and one for José. He and his father gave it to him. Benjamin Borges is now 88 years old, alive and well in South Carolina. He taught what he could to José, who became better than his teacher. He played every chance he had by himself in his room for up to 14 hours a day listening to 1950s rock albums, classical guitarists such as Andrés Segovia, and jazz players such as Wes Montgomery. He later had classical lessons with Harold Morris, who earlier had been a student with Segovia.
At 17, he quit school to play in clubs, having his first professional, contracted performance in Detroit.